I've been on the search for the "perfect" camera bag (for me) for years. I can't count the number of bags I've purchased - and then returned or sold - because they're just not "quite right". It's kind of been an obsession of mine :P What I have found is that there is not one single bag that will fit my every need. So, instead of trying to find something that doesn't exist, I've caved in, and found the "bags" that will work for me - in just about any situation I find myself in. Now granted, I don't have tons of photo equipment, but I have managed to collect a couple of camera bodies (Canon 7D and Canon Rebel XSi w/battery grip) and a few lenses, along with various and sundry other photography-related items. I've tried them all (it seems to me, anyway): Tamrac, Case Logic, Kata, Canon, Crumpler, and probably a few I've forgotten.
What are my requirements? Simple (you would think).
1. I need one bag that will hold ALL my equipment, plus my MacBook Pro 15" laptop, for traveling purposes. It has to fit in the overhead bin of any airplane (regional jets included), or under the seat in front of me. I want everything together - nice and neat - in one place.
2. I need one bag for walkabouts. This bag needs to be comfortable to carry all day and have some room in it also, for my wallet, phone, trinkets, souvenirs, a bottle of water, etc. Oh, and it MUST hold one camera body and my walk-around lens mounted. Would be nice if I could also slip my 70-200 F/4 in there, as well. A sling, or shoulder-type bag - purselike - would be great.
3. While the above bag will likely take care of most instances, there are times where I need a little more room. A backpack-type case is good, with plenty of room for camera, with lens mounted, extra lens, and also more room for a jacket (beach towel?), lunch, water, wallet, phone, etc. I need a bag like this when riding scooters around Key West, or day stops on a nice island while on a cruise :) Also, a "rain cover" would be nice (would not have thought this until I got caught in a torrential downpour one day with my camera equipment).
4. Bags No. 2 and 3 need to be flexible enough to be folded, stuffed, or otherwise packed into my suitcase to be used when I arrive wherever.
What have I come up with? Lowepro to the rescue!
1. Lowepro Fastpack 250: Albeit a bit snug, everything I have, camera-related, fits into the bag, along with my laptop (plus charger). Room for wallet and phone in the top compartment. Can even squeeze my iPad in alongside the laptop. One bag - carry-on - no muss, no fuss.
2. Lowepro Passport Sling: Almost like carrying a purse! Hiding inside is my camera with lens mounted, an extra lens (70-200 F/4), wallet, keys, phone, etc. It expands another 30% with a zipper on the end (in case I have the need to buy something I can't live without - depending upon the size, I have a place to keep it).
3. Lowepro Versapack 200 AW: For those day trips when I need just a bit more room. The top section of the bag holds quite a bit of personal stuff - would hold a light jacket, bottled water, wallet, phone, snacks, and even more. The bottom holds all the camera equipment I would need for a day. And yes, my iPad slips into the front section. Should I get caught in a rainstorm - it even has a raincoat :)
BONUS: Both bags No. 2 & 3 are pliable and collapsible enough to fold and fit in my suitcase. This means, I have both bags with me, and can choose what works for me on any given day :)
I'm deliriously happy - I do believe my obsessive search may be over (for now anyway - wouldn't want to dismiss the possibility of finding something newer and better down the road). I highly recommend all the above bags - the quality is excellent on all three. Of course, everyone has their own personal needs in a bag(s), and you need to find the one(s) that work best for you. It took me awhile, but for now - success! Yay Lowepro - and thank you :) Hmmm, wonder what I can obsess about now ...